That is the claim of the struggling, once-great British team’s boss Eric Boullier.
His comments come as Spaniard Alonso made his first appearance at an Indycar race at the weekend, meeting with the Andretti team and sitting in the cockpit.
A week ago, he shocked the entire motor sport world by announcing he will sit out Monaco next month in a bid to win the fabled Indy 500.
Alonso says he wants to complete the ‘triple crown’ by adding Indy and Le Mans to his past Monaco wins, but one explanation is that his adventure next month is simply a way to cope with his third consecutive season with an uncompetitive McLaren-Honda.
Bernie Ecclestone said in Bahrain that he would have talked Alonso out of racing at Indy if he was still in charge of F1.
But the 86-year-old nonetheless told Bild am Sonntag newspaper: “A driver like him should never have to race at the back of the grid.”
McLaren chief Boullier said of the team’s situation: “I would say that it is worse for Fernando, because Stoffel is still young and still has so much to learn.
“He (Vandoorne) has tied himself to McLaren in the long term and is therefore assured of the team’s support. That is why, in truth, he can wait a little,” Boullier added.